Fisherman rescued after boat fire

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Tokyo -

An Indonesian fisherman was rescued on Monday floating in the Pacific, 24 hours after his tuna fishing boat was seen engulfed by fire.

The man, identifying himself as Simon, was rescued by another fishing boat helping in the search for the Japanese-registered No. 8 Kaisei-maru, which was found in flames on Sunday, about 400km south of Kochi prefecture in western Japan, the coastguard said.

Two Japanese and five Indonesian men were on board the vessel when it stopped responding to radio communications early that day, according to the coastguard.

“An Indonesian native, who is calling himself Simon, has been found and rescued” by a boat operating near No. 8 Kaisei-maru, a spokesman for the coastguard said.

“He is very weak, but conscious. He is not in a life-threatening condition,” the spokesman said.

Three other men had been found, although all were said to be in cardiac arrest. The term is usually used in Japan by first responders before an accident victim is certified dead by a doctor.

A coastguard plane was transporting them to Japan, the spokesman added.

The coast guard originally received a report from a local fisheries radio station early on Sunday that it could not contact the 19-ton vessel.

More than four hours later, a plane spotted the burning ship, with television footage showing the bridge was in flames. It was unclear what caused the blaze.

Searchers returned to the area's waters on Monday but could not locate the ship, which they said may have sunk.

The ship left the port of Kochi on February 20 and had planned to reach another port in nearby Wakayama prefecture on Tuesday. - Sapa-AFP


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